July 13, 2016

$30 Million in Donations Needed to Build a Forensic Science Center in Southern Nevada

Forensic lab shortages largely to blame for some of the nation’s worst crime rates over five years

HENDERSON, NEV. — NevadaCSI announced the launch of a fundraising project to raise $30 million in private donations to build a forensic science center in Southern Nevada. Funds are needed for construction of a facility that will include labs for blood alcohol, blood drug, DNA, drug analysis, fingerprints, and firearms evidence; and a multi-bay facility for crime scene investigation personnel to process large evidence items such as vehicles.

The center will include the first joint collegiate/forensic laboratory training facility of its kind in Nevada. That section will also provide multi-use areas for temporary lab capacity increases to support critical homeland security needs and other short-term needs to augment existing labs.

Forensic Laboratory Shortages = Higher Crime Rates

As is true throughout the nation, Southern Nevada does not have sufficient forensic lab space to process all available crime scene evidence. Delays are significant, backlogs are the norm, and a lot of evidence will never be examined under the current conditions. As a result, crimes remain unsolved, criminals remain free, and additional people needlessly become victims.

According to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report (2014 UCR), Nevada remained among the worst states in the nation for crimes per 100,000 population for the fifth consecutive year. The state was ranked as follows: #1 for robbery, #2 for violent crime, #3 for vehicle Theft, #4 for aggravated assault, #6 for murder/non-negligent (willful) manslaughter, #8 for burglary, and #12 for rape. (Note: Number 1 is the worst possible, 50 is the best.)

Two labs in Southern Nevada support 73 percent of the state's population, yet reported crimes in Clark County alone comprise 80-92 percent of the state total.

The City of Henderson’s forensic lab conducts its own evidence analysis, as well as for Boulder City, with the exception of DNA and firearms evidence. Backlogs exist, capacity cannot be increased, and DNA capability cannot be added due to limited space in the 4,500-sqare-foot building intended in 2005 as only a temporary location. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department forensic lab has backlogs that range from one to over 20 years in various lab disciplines.

Forensic Science Center Impact – A Force Multiplier for Law Enforcement “Plans call for the forensic science center to be located in Henderson, but it will play a major role in solving and preventing crimes throughout Southern Nevada,” said Rick Workman, Chairman of NevadaCSI. “The center’s resources will be used to assist other public safety agencies in every way possible, including supplementing local Homeland Security efforts in the event of an urgent need for forensic lab evidence testing. When the facility is completed and operational it will help solve more crimes, prevent crime, and save lives.”

Partnership with Higher Education

Partnership with an institution of higher education will provide unique training opportunities for future forensic science practitioners, help guide students to careers in areas that will help others, develop a pool of potential forensic scientists, and increase opportunities for employment.

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About NevadaCSI

The primary purposes of the all-volunteer NevadaCSI organization are to (a) raise private funds to build, equip and support a publicly operated forensic science center in Southern Nevada; and; (b) promote the use of forensic science to increase community safety and security.

Note: Chairman Rick Workman's volunteer duties with NevadaCSI are separate and distinct from any government agency. Statements made by him, on his behalf, and/or from other representatives of NevadaCSI do not reflect nor purport to represent the City of Henderson, Henderson Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Clark County, the State of Nevada, the FBI, nor any other government organization unless otherwise stated. All solicitations for private funds are also separate and distinct from—and are not made on behalf of—those agencies.